Peter B Flemings

Peter B Flemings
Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences
Research Scientist, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences

Leonidas T. Barrow Centennial Chair in Mineral Resources

Email: pflemings@jsg.utexas.edu
Work: +1 512 475 8738, +1 512 475 9520
Office: JGB 5.318
Mailcode: C9000

Dr. Flemings' research couples observation with theoretical analysis to study crustal fluid flow at human and geologic timescales. He explores classical questions such as:

1) What is the relationship between faulting, pressure, and stress?
2) What is the permeability of the shallow crust and how does it vary with stress and pore pressure?
3) How is continental margin morphology controlled by fluid flow?
4) How do hydrocarbons move at both geological and production time scales?
5) What is the mechanism by which gas and oil vents form?
6) How are methane hydrate deposits generated?
7) How do we predict pore pressure in basins?
8) Under what conditions will blowouts form?
9) How can we design and drill safe and economic wells?

Dr. Flemings works closely with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), studies fluid pressure in the Nankai Accretionary Prism and helped develop a pore pressure penetrometer for ocean drilling. He leads an industry-supported research consortium (UT GeoFluids) that combines geomechanical modeling, experimental analysis, and field study to study pore pressure and fluid flow in basins. He is fascinated by methane hydrates, and his research group simulates them in the lab and models their formation. Most recently, Dr. Flemings is leading a new initiative to drill methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, his team studies the permeability and deformation of mudstones in the GeoMechanics laboratory.

Areas of Expertise

Stratigraphy, basin analysis, basin-scale fluid flow, pore pressures in seafloor sediments, submarine landslides, oil and gas migration, methane hydrates, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)


Current Research Programs & Projects

UT GeoFluids Consortium: Pressure, Stress and Geologic Evolution in the Gulf of Mexico

Controls on Methane Expulsion During Melting of Natural Gas Hydrate Systems: Topic Area 2

SUTUR – Mechanisms of Gas Flow in Shale


Select Past Research

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Gulf of Mexico: Expedition 308, Gulf of Mexico Hydrogeology

Leonidas T. Barrow Centennial Chair in Mineral Resources - The University of Texas at Austin (2020)

Joseph C. Walter Jr. Excellence Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (2016)

Chair of the Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize Committee - American Geophysical Union (2015 - 2016)

John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Chair in Energy and Mineral Resources - The University of Texas at Austin (2015 - 2020)

Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (Member) - Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy (2015 - 2017)

Tinker Family BEG Publication Award - Bureau of Economic Geology (2015)

Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (Chair) - Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy (2014 - 2015)

Author Achievement Award - Bureau of Economic Geology (2014)

Certificate for Reviewing Excellence - Marine and Petroleum Geology (2014)

Outstanding Researcher Award - UT Institute for Geophysics (2014)

Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (Co-Chair) - Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy (2013)

Chair: 2nd Gordon Research Conference on Hydrates - Gordon Research Conference (2012)

Director’s Circle of Excellence Award - UT Institute for Geophysics (2011 - 2016)

Vice Chair: 1st Gordon Research Conference on Hydrates - Gordon Research Conference (2010)

Informal Advisor to Energy Secretary S. Chu's BP Macondo Well Integrity Team - BP Macondo Well Integrity Team (2010)

Keynote Speaker/ Co-Convener, 'Subsurface sediment mobilization and fluid flow' - Geological Society, London. (2008)

Author Achievement Award - Bureau of Economic Geology (2008)

Keynote Speaker and Co-Convener - Geological Society, London (2007 - 2007)

JOI-USSAC Distinguished Lecturer - JOI-USSAC (2007 - 2007)

AAPG Distinguished Lecturer - American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2006 - 2006)

Kavli Fellow and Speaker - Humboldt Foundation Frontiers of Science Symposium (2006 - 2006)

Co-Chief Scientist - IODP Expedition 308 – Gulf of Mexico, Hydrogeology (2005)

G. Montgomery and Marion Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching - Pennsylvania State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2003 - 2003)

Best Paper Award - Computers and Geosciences (2001 - 2001)

Geological Society of America Fellow - Geological Society of America (1997 - 1997)

Matthew J. and Anne C. Wilson Outstanding Teaching Award - Pennsylvania State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (1996 - 1996)

Best Paper, J.C. Cam Sproule Memorial Award - AAPG Bulletin (1995 - 1995)

Shell Faculty Fellow - Shell (1994 - 1997)

Crosby Distinguished Lecturer - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992 - 1992)

Best Paper Award - Mountain Geologist (1991 - 1991)

John McMullen Graduate Fellowship for academic record (1986 - 1986)

Chair for Sessions on Analysis of Natural Gas Hydrate Systems, AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition (2020)

Member Macelwane Awards Committee, American Geophysical Union (2020 - Present)

Chair of the Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize Committee, American Geophysical Union (2015 - 2016)

Visiting Research Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2014)

Visiting Research Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2013)

Shipboard Scientist, JOIDES Resolution cruise (2012)

Convener, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS Science Workshop for Eastern North America, Bethlehem, PA (2011)

Co-chair, GEOPRESSURE 2011, Galveston, TX, GEOPRESSURE 2011, Galveston, TX (2011)

Convener, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS, EarthScope-GeoPRISMS Opportunities in Eastern North America, Mini-Workshop, Austin, TX, May 2011 (2011)

Convener, EarthScope, EarthScope National Meeting, Austin, TX, May 2011 (2011)

Meeting Organizer, UT GeoFluids, UT GeoFluids Industrial Affiliates Meeting, Austin, TX, Feb. 2011 (2011)

Chair, Gordon Research Conference, 2nd Gordon Research Conference in Gas Hydrates (2011 - 2012)

Co-Convener, Rifting Margins, Rifting Margins Workshop, Nov. 2010 (2010)

Member, GeoPrisms, GeoPrisms Steering Committee (2010 - 2012)

Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference, 1st Gordon Research Conference in Gas Hydrates (2010 - 2011)

Member, Science Proposal Writing Committee—Margins, Science Proposal Writing Committee—Margins (2010)

Member, The Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (An Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy), The Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (An Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Energy) (2010 - 2012)

Member, Organizing Committee, International Conference on Geopressure (Galveston, 10/4/2011) (2010)

Chair, Sed Erg, Jackson School (2009)

Chair, Energy Theme Search Committee, Jackson School (2009)

Member, IT Search Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2009)

Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, The Unviersity of Texas (2009 - 2012)

Member, Appointments Committee, Jackson School (2009 - 2013)

Member, Endowment Committee, Jackson School (2009 - 2011)

Member, IODP Board of Governors, IODP Board of Governors (2009 - 2011)

Chair, Ad Hoc Department Computing Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2008 - 2009)

Chair, Schoch Building Move Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2008 - 2009)

Member, UTIG Director Search Committee (UTIG), UTIG (2008 - 2009)

Graduate Adviser, Dept. of Geological Science, Jackson School (2008 - 2012)

Member, Colorado School of Mines Department of Geological Engineering Review Committee, Colorado School of Mines Department of Geological Engineering Review Committee (2008 - 2011)

Member, Departmental Endowed Position Committee, Department of Geological Sciences (2007 - 2009)

Member, Energy Theme Search Committee, Jackson School (2007 - 2009)

Chairperson, IODP Engineering Development Panel (2005 - 2008)

Co-Chief Scientist, IODP Expedition 308, Gulf of Mexico Hydrogeology (2005)

Convener, Downhole Tools Workshop, JOI-USSAC supported workshop (2004)

Director, GeoFluidsIII Consortium (2004 - 2008)

Associate Editor, Geofluids (2003 - 2006)

Shipboard Scientist, JAMSTEC KR03-05 data recovery cruise, Yokohama, Japan (2003)

Shorebased Scientist, ODP Leg 204 (2003)

Member, AAPG Research Committee (2003 - 2006)

ACORK Specialist, Ocean Drilling Program data recovery cruise (2002)

Director, GeoFluidsII Consortium (2002 - 2004)

Co-Chair, American Geophysical Union Session in Dynamics of Gas Hydrate Reservoirs and Similar Shallow Marine Flow Systems (2001)

Logging/CORK Specialist, Ocean Drilling Program Cruise, Leg 196 (2001)

Member, Interim Science Steering and Evaluation Panel for the Environment (2001 - 2002)

Chair, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Session in Geopressure and Trap Integrity (2000)

Participant, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)-Industry workshop (1999)

Participant, National Science Foundation Special Sedimentary Geosciences Workshop (1999)

Member, JOI Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel (1999 - 2002)

Participant, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)-Industry workshop (1999)

Manager, GeoFluids and GeoSystems Office (1999 - 2008)

Liaison, Departmental Industry Recruiting Program (1999 - 2007)

Leader, Gas Research Industry Workshop (1998)

Director, Penn State Time-Lapse Seismic Consortium (1998 - 2001)

Director, Penn State GeoFluids Consortium (1998 - 2001)

Logging Scientist, Ocean Drilling Program Cruise, Leg 174A (1997)

Member, Scientific Measurements Panel of the Ocean Drilling Program (1997 - 2000)

Associate Editor, Basin Research (1996 - 2011)

Postdocs

Manasij Santra
Manasij received his undergraduate degree in Geology from the University of Calcutta. He received his master's degree in Applied Geology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, where he conducted research in the tectonics of the Precambrian Eastern Ghats Mobile Belt. Manasij earned his Ph.D. in geological sciences at The University of Texas at Austin where he studied the stratigraphy...

Yi Fang, 2017 - 2020

Stacey Worman, 2015 - 2016

Stephen Phillips, 2015 - 2019

Kehua You, 2013 - 2015, The University of Texas
Kehua joined UT Geofluids as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in geology from Texas A&M University in 2013, and her B.S. in environmental sciences from University of Science and Technology of China in 2008. She specializes in theoretical and computational hydrogeology, contaminant hydrology and reservoir simulation. Her primary research interest lies in fluid flow and transport in subsurface environment.

Athma Bhandari, 2012 - 2014

Julia S. Reece, 2011 - 2013


Graduate Students

Paul Morris , Ph.D., expected 2021 (Committee Member)
Advised by Professor David Mohrig, Dr Jake Covault and Dr Zoltan Sylvester. Working with the Quantitative Clastics Lab. Using forward stratigraphic models coded in python to understand and quantify the evolution of (deep-water) channel-belt stratigraphy. Linking the movement and morphology of channels to their resultant deposits - exploring resulting issues around reservoir connectivity (flow behavior) for Oil/Gas extraction. Quantitative PhD with coding...

Sebastian Ramiro ramirez , Ph.D., expected 2020 (Supervisor)
Sebastian started his PhD program at UT in 2016. He is interested in petrographic, geochemical and petrophysical studies of mudrocks, and is currently working on porosity and permeability experiments in the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring formations, Delaware Basin.

Miguel Cisneros , Ph.D., expected 2018 (Committee Member)
My research combines a broad range of disciplines, including geochemistry, structural geology, petrology, and chronology, to understand how high-pressure rocks from the Mediterranean are exhumed to the surface. I consider myself a stable isotope geochemist who applies multiple techniques to understand large-scale tectonic problems including volatile sourcing and fluid flow in subduction zones, and exhumation of high-pressure rocks.

Brad T Gooch , Ph.D., expected 2016 (Committee Member)
I am a PhD student working at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. I am researching the importance of basin-scale groundwater flow, geothermal heat flow, and geomechanical feedbacks on the dynamics of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet via numerical modeling and geophysical observations. I have a broad educational and professional work background in the geosciences comprising knowledge from both...

Landon Lockhart (Supervisor)
Landon's research is focused on characterizing the pressures and stresses in complex geologic settings. Specifically, his research integrates geomechanical modeling, experimental analysis, and field data at the Mad Dog Field, deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The title of Landon's thesis is "New Pore Pressure Prediction Workflow to Capture the Effects of Mean Effective Stress and Deviatoric (shear) stress at the Mad...

Patrick (Kevin) Meazell (Supervisor)
I am a deepwater sedimentologist and stratigrapher. My research focuses on the deposition of clastic, methane hydrate-bearing reservoirs in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. I study these deposits at the basin- to grain-scale. During my time at the Jackson School of Geosciences I have helped to plan and execute the drilling of multiple wells as part of...

David Wiggs (Supervisor)

Abby Varona (Supervisor)

Zachary Murphy (Supervisor)

Gregory S Hurd (Committee Member)

Dylan Meyer, Ph.D., 2018 (Supervisor)

Kristopher Darnell, Ph.D., 2018 (Supervisor)

Francis W Pinkston, M.S., 2017 (Supervisor)

Andrea Nolting, Ph.D., 2017 (Committee Member)

Michael Cronin, M.S., 2015 (Supervisor)
University of Texas at Austin
Michael studied core-scale gas transport experiments and the numerical modeling of gas transport in fractured gas shales. His interests included geomechanics, reservoir engineering, unconventional resource plays, and rowing. After completing his degree, Michael accepted a full-time geologist position with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in The Woodlands, TX.

Jason Sanford, M.S., 2015 (Supervisor)
University of Texas at Austin
Jason's work focused on the geologic record of the Chicxulub asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico (with the Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project) and the geomechanics of reservoir-scale sand injectites in the Panoche Hills of central California (with UT GeoFluids). Jason now works at Chevron as an exploration earth scientist in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

William Betts, M.S., 2014 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas
William studied consolidation and deformation of mudstones in the Nankai Trough area of offshore Japan. He joined Halliburton after graduation in 2014.

Baiyuan Gao, M.S., 2013 (Supervisor)

Yao You, Ph.D., 2013 (Supervisor)
University of Texas at Austin
Yao's work focused on quantitative modeling of crustal fluids and geomorphology. He studied failure in sand caused by breaching in subaqueous and submarine environments, and modeled the pore pressure in Ursa Basin using soil properties measured by the UT GeoFluids group. After completing his PhD, Yao joined Hess.

Kyung Chang, Ph.D., 2013 (Co-supervisor)

Michael Merrell, M.S., 2012 (Supervisor)
University of Texas at Austin
Michael's research focused on characterizing the pressure and stress at the Mad Dog field that lies directly below an allochthonous salt sheet along the Sigsbee Escarpment in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. He used logging data, direct pressure measurements, and drilling records to understand how the reservoir is segmented and how to predict pore pressure across the field. Upon completion of...

Andrew Smith, M.S., 2012 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas
Andrew's work focused on the process of venting and associated hydrate formation at deepwater vents in the Gulf of Mexico. After completing his MS, he joined the marine geology and geophysics research group at the University of Troms in Norway as a Fulbright scholar.

Julia Schneider, Ph.D., 2011 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas
Julia's research focused on compression and flow behavior of mudrocks. As a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow in the UT GeoFluids group, she studied the effect of mineralogy and particle size on porosity, compressibility, permeability, and microstructure under geologic stresses. She used various mudrocks such as the Boston Blue Clay, Gulf of Mexico mudrock, and Nankai mudrock. Her work has...

Lucas Fidler, M.S., 2011 (Co-supervisor)

Kylara Martin, Ph.D., 2011 (Co-supervisor)

Derek Sawyer, Ph.D., 2010 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas
Derek studied sedimentation, deformation, and fluid flow on continental margins. Upon completion of his PhD, Derek, joined the Operations Geology group of ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas.

Hilary Strong, M.S., 2009 (Supervisor)
The University of Texas
Hilary's thesis focused on consolidation characteristics of mass transport complexes in the Ursa Region. Upon completion of her MS, she joined ExxonMobil as an Operations Geologist.


Undergraduate Students

Carmen Atkins, Completed 2012 (Berger Geosciences)


Pressure Coring a Gulf of Mexico Deep-Water Turbidite Gas Hydrate Reservoir: The UT-GOM2-1 Hydrate Pressure Coring Expedition, AAPG Conference and Exhibition, (2020)

Recent results pressure coring hydrate-bearing sands in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico: implications for formation and production, Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrate Systems, (2018)

Ice that burns, University of Texas Libraries Research & Pizza presentation, (2018)

GOM2: Prospecting, drilling and sampling coarse-grained hydrate reservoirs in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, International Conference of Gas Hydrates, (2017)

Illuminating the genesis of methane hydrate within coarse-grained reservoirs through deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, TX A&M University Graduate Seminar, (2017)

Illuminating the genesis of methane hydrate within coarse-grained reservoirs through deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, UT Petroleum and GeoSystems Engineering Graduate Seminar, (2017)

The Methane Hydrate GeoSystem: Geology, Climate, & Energy, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UT Austin, (2016)

Exploring the Methane Hydrate GeoSystem from Pore to Basin, Sandia National Laboratories, (2016)

Exploring the Methane Hydrate GeoSystem from Pore to Basin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,, (2016)

The Methane Hydrate and Free Gas GeoSystem: Geology, Climate, & Energy, Jackson School of Geosciences Tech Session, (2015)

The Methane Hydrate and Free Gas GeoSystem, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, (2015)

Gulf of Mexico Petroleum Systems, Nautilus, (2014)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2013)

The Science of Pore Pressure Prediction in the Deepwater (Keynote Speaker), 47th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, (2013)

Pore pressure response to unloading, progressive slope failure, and the stratigraphic record (Keynote Speaker), 6th International Symposium on Submarine Mass Wasting and their Consequences, (2013)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2012)

Gas Venting Through the Hydrate Stability Zone: observation and theory, MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany (2012)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Houston (2011)

Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows, Nautilus, Norway (2011)

Offshore Active Processes and Hazards, RIE Lehigh conference, Bethlehem, PA (2011)

Capillary behavior of methane hydrates, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Long Beach, Ca. (2011)

Sub-seafloor Oil-plume Containment: How can we preserve and build the required expertise to respond to large oil vents in the US waters? Is there a role beyond spill response?, National USGS Marine Geohazards Workshop, Pore Pressure and the Macondo Well, Menlo Park, CA (2011)

YearSemesterCourse
2020Spring GEO 291 Geomechs/Fluid Flow Sub Zones
2019Fall GEO 291 Fire/Ice: Methane Hydr Geosys
2019Spring GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
2018Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2018Spring GEO 391 Methane Hydrate
2018Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2017Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2016Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2016Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2016Spring GEO 382D Crustal Geofluids
2016Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2015Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2015Fall GEO 291 Fire/Ice: Methane Hydr Geosys
2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2015Spring GEO 330K Energy Exploration
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids
2014Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geofluids

Graduate and Post-Doctoral opportunities in GeoFluids Research Group (Graduate)
The GeoFluids Research Group has immediate opportunities for graduate and post-doctoral study. Dr. Flemings is most enthused by students who have a commitment to a doctoral program because that allows time to delve deeply into research. However, he also regularly accepts exceptional M.S. students into our research group. If you are interested, please e-mail, Peter Flemings (pflemings@jsg.utexas.edu).

Current Research Opportunities:

1. Hydrate Melting:
Examine the melting of methane hydrates in Arctic systems. DOE funded effort will examine the impact of warming over human time scales and longer. The project description is found here. We are looking for students and post-doctoral scientists with a fascination for marine geology and a yen for quantitative analysis of fluid flow.

2. Mass Transport in Shales:
Study transport processes in shale systems! You will perform permeability testing of shales (e.g. the Barnett, the Marcellus) and develop multi-scale numerical models to describe mass transport within these systems. The work will include both laboratory analysis and sample characterization. This project is supported by Shell.

3. GeoPressure Analysis:
Study geopressure in sedimentary basins through our industry funded consortium UTGeoFluids. Dr. Flemings is always looking for students with a yen to characterize and model overpressure in sedimentary basins.
http://www-udc.ig.utexas.edu/geofluids/

4. Mudrock Geomechanics:
Study the geomechanics of mudrocks through experimental analysis. This research is supported by UTGeoFluids. In this research, we analyze both intact samples (from industry and the ocean drilling program) and we synthetically create mudrocks. We ask fundamental questions such as:
How to mudrocks compact?
What is the permeability of mudrocks and how does it evolve?
What is the strength of mudrocks?